Berea : Kentucky


What It Is Like to Retire in Berea

Berea, Kentucky makes an unusual and historic retirement community for active adults. It is not only one of the fastest growing towns in America (estimated 73% growth from 2000 to 2010), but it is also one of the most unusual small towns in the south. The town was founded by abolitionist missionaries in 1853. They established Berea College, a coeducational institution which also became the only integrated college in the south for 40 years. Even today, students at the college do not have to pay tuition, but they do have to work. Many African Americans moved here as a result of the town’s history of racial tolerance (although for some reason only 4.3% of the town was listed as African American in the 2000 census). The town has a long association with the arts and crafts of Appalachia. Folk arts have been studied, celebrated and practiced in Berea since the 1890’s.

Berea is a charming college town and getting to participate in its youthful atmosphere and many cultural offerings. There is a small commercial district near the campus, but the main shopping is done outside of town. There is an ambitious downtown renovation project going on. Serious shoppers go to Lexington (39 miles). Berea is located in Madison County.

Here is information on retirement in Kentucky or in Bowling Green

Where to Retire in Berea and Home Prices

Active adults can live near the campus in the larger homes available there, or in historic homes in the town proper. With the legions of retirees moving to this community we expect many active adult developments will be built in the area.
Real estate prices are significantly lower than elsewhere in the Sunbelt or coastal regions of the U.S. The median home value was $179,558 in mid-2021, according to Zillow.


What Is Special about Berea

 College town with a vital university; Folk Arts and Crafts Capital; 3 big annual arts and crafts festivals;  Berea College has a huge endowment and no one pays tuition; It is a dry town (no alcohol purchased or served); Kentucky Artisan Center; Berea Country Club (9 hole golf) plus other golf courses; Very low cost of living.


What Is Not Special about Berea

It is a dry town (no alcohol purchased or served), which often has a negative affect on restaurant selection. It is a small town that is growing extraordinarily fast, subject to future problems.

Who Will Like Retirement in Berea

Berea attracts a community of who would like to live in a small and vital college town with a history of tolerance and a love of arts and crafts.

Local Economy Is Driven by

In addition to Berea College the arts and crafts infrastructure is big.

Climate and Physical Environment

Berea is located in central Kentucky. Foothills of the wooded Appalachian Mountains roll away to the south and east. The climate is milder than in the north but one can experience all 4 seasons. The average July high temperature is 87 and the average January low is 26. The wettest month is May (5").

Restaurants & Cultural Scene

Berea College provides many of the cultural resources in this town. Elderhostel holds classes here occasionally. There are 3 large annual arts and crafts fairs held in Berea. In addition there are many galleries for the arts and crafts.


There is very little crime in Berea.

Medical Facilities

Berea Hospital; Berea Health Care Center is a nursing home.



Blue Grass Airport in Lexington is 38 miles, Cincinnati Airport is 104 miles. Interstate 75 is close to town.

Valuable Links

Visit Berea

What people are saying about Berea

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